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Waiting For Methodology Man

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It seems misleading to me to discuss the overall average findings while never admitting the breakdown of how students do in different years. The important finding of the CREDO study was that “students do better in charter schools over time. First year charter students on average experience a decline in learning, which may reflect a combination of mobility effects and the experience of a charter school in its early years. Second and third years in charter schools see a significant reversal to positive gains.” In other words, the reason for the overall average findings is that first-year charter students are bringing down the average. Well, this is no surprise: students who transfer between schools always tend to do worse, just because they are getting adjusted to a different school and possibly an entirely different curriculum and set of expectations. But if students do better the longer they remain in charter schools, then that does indeed argue for encouraging more students to remain in charters for longer times.

Response to Buck: You are 'explaining away' the disappointing factual results of 83% of charter schools in the light of what they promise: to perform better than comparable public schools. They don't, and that is disappointing. Specially given the vast sum of money invested in these students, and the large attrition rates in this type of schools. You are merely guessing that the disappointing results are due to 'first year adjusting problems'. It is fine to put that hypothesis to the test, but far too early to give a recommendation based on imagined results.

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